The city of Newark, New Jersey, will replace a monument of 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus with a statue depicting abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman, the city’s mayor announced.
“Nearly one year after our nation’s racial reckoning and just in time for this year’s celebration of Juneteenth, we are proud to announce the design selected for our new Harriet Tubman monument,” Mayor Ras Baraka stated.
“It is only fitting that we memorialize Tubman’s heroic efforts leading enslaved Africans to freedom via the Underground Railroad at this time of year when we celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States,” the mayor added.
“Ms. John’s work of public art will be a symbol of hope and optimism for generations to come, not only for our Newark community, but also for the entire country.”
The Tubman monument was designed by Nina Cooke John, a New York-based designer.
“My design creates a welcoming space for people to connect with Tubman as well as interact and reflect on their own liberation from whatever weight they might be carrying. This is a monument for the community and by the community,” John said in a statement.
The announcement comes as over two dozen Columbus statues have been removed since protests and riots broke out last year over the death of George Floyd.